Creating a perfect landing page

Landing pages are hugely important in the internet marketing world, and if your website isn’t using them yet then it’d be a good idea to start.  That being said, landing pages are pretty easy to get wrong, and there are few different approaches to the landing page which will yield different results.

Below is a quick guide to the landing page and a few handy tips to get you on the right track.

What is a landing page?

If you’re new to internet marketing then you might be unsure about exactly what a landing page is in the first place.  A landing page is:

the first page a customer ‘lands’ on – the first page of your internet presence that they see after being directed to you via other marketing campaigns;

These campaigns can be a search engine result, a banner ad, a Google Adwords ad or anything similar.

Each landing page can have a different aim whether it be to get email addresses, encourage conversions or increase brand awareness and landing pages come in different styles.

Different types of landing pages

Standalone landing pages

These are pages specially designed to convert high numbers of visitors from an online ad campaign.  They are separate from the main site, often designed differently and, depending on the marketing aim, may or may not have a link to the main website.

Some landing pages, known as Squeeze pages, go for a ‘dead-end’ approach.  There’s nowhere to click off the site and the only option available to a customer is to enter email details.  Sites do this to try and build up an email list of potential customers; the theory is that conversion buttons and links will distract the customer meaning less form-filling-in.  Remove the buttons and interested customers will make themselves known via contact details.

Microsites

A microsite is a small tabbed site with a few pages, maybe about five or six, which gives the user an opportunity to delve deeper into the site if they want more information.  These kinds of landing pages are becoming more popular as they arguably engage the user more without making them feel pressured to purchase, enter details or click on a conversion button.

Internal website landing pages

This is a landing page which is fully integrated into the structure of a main website.  It will be consistent with the rest of the website in terms of style and layout.  It functions like any other page on a website, but the content makes it function as a landing page.  These pages need to be search optimised.

Top tips

These are some common sense top tips which if followed will make your landing page into a gem.

Clear goals

Know what you want your page to do.  Are you after email addresses? Do you want them to click the conversion button?  Have a clear concept of what marketing aim your landing page has and keep that in mind at all times when designing the page.

Clarity

Make the page clear, easy to understand and easy to use.  Headlines should be simple, make sense and keep the reader engaged.  Conversion buttons should be immediately obvious and above where a customer would have to scroll.  Remember that on a landing page simplicity is key.  Don’t bombard the customer with too much information or too many links.

Consistency

If you’re designing a landing page to be seen after a customer has clicked an advert, then you need to make sure the advert matches the content of the landing page.  They’ve clicked that advert because they’re interested in what it’s offering them – if the landing page doesn’t provide them with that then there’s no reason for them to stay.  Likewise, make sure your PPC is up-to-date and keeps up with offers.  The worst thing is to make an offer on your landing page which isn’t available to customers anymore.

User-friendly

You also need to make sure your landing page is user friendly.  It should be obvious what you are asking of your customer so you need some simple, but not overly pushy, call-to-actions.  Also don’t hide away where a person enters their email.  The harder it is to find, the less likely people are to convert.  By the same token put your best information first.  Online readers switch off quick – make them understand why they should still be looking at your page.

Test, test, test

To make the most out of your landing page you need to be optimising it frequently for conversion.  Try out different copy, images and call-to-actions to see what your users like in A/B tests.

Rethinking the landing page?

In a recent article Scott Brinker, president of ion interactive talks about a new way of thinking about the landing page.  For Scott, the ‘Death of the Cliched Landing Page’ is overdue. He talks about changing the way we see landing pages and considering the whole process as a landing ‘experience’ saying:

“Landing pages are a marketer’s construct. No regular person says, “oh, I can’t wait to check out their landing page.” Instead, think about experiences. Through the eyes of your prospect, when they click through on your ad, do you give them what they want? Do you give them reasons to love you?”- searchengineland.com

So rather than sticking with the standalone landing page which screams out “click, click, click!” to the user, Brinker reckons we need to start thinking more subtly about how people react to internet marketing approaches to try and avoid the average 95% bounce rate.

However you want to approach your landing pages, you need to have them and following this handy common sense tips will ensure your landing page is as good as it can be.

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